ANC in KZN concerned at slow pace of political murder investigations

File Picture: Minister of Police Bheki Cele.Picture: Bongani Shilulbane African News Agency (ANA)

File Picture: Minister of Police Bheki Cele.Picture: Bongani Shilulbane African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 8, 2022

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DURBAN - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has raised concerns about the pace of the investigations into politically related murders.

Police Minister General Bheki Cele’s last update on arrests made and the progress of investigations took place in February following an Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting on political killings.

Some of the cases include:

* The January murder of ANC eThekwini metro ward councillor Minenhle Mkhize who was gunned down outside his home.

* Reginald Ndima, IFP councillor and speaker of the Amajuba district municipality, was shot dead outside his home in Newcastle in January.

* Thembinkosi Lombo, an ANC councillor in the Umvoti local municipality, was shot dead in February.

Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said there was no further update from detectives tasked with investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

“The last update to the media is what it stands for now … the team has not provided a fresh update. An update can only be announced after the Inter-Ministerial Committee meets.”

At the February briefing, Cele said that the task team, which comprises police and the National Prosecuting Authority, had investigated 258 dockets since 2018 in which 289 arrests were made in politically related cases. Most of the new cases were reported before, during and after the local government elections last year.

Cele said that the affected political parties were the ANC, IFP and NFP.

“It is important to note the significant progress made by the task team which has secured life sentences for 10 accused. Moreover, 22 accused had sentences ranging from 10 to 50 years handed down to them. Twelve accused have been convicted for no more than 10 years and the remainder are going through the court processes.”

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal is expected to hold its provincial elective conference in July, and while the party said it has no concerns over the threat of political violence ahead of this crucial conference, the Eastern Cape was rocked by the murder of two members ahead of this weekend’s conference.

Ward 43 ANC councillor Andile Andries and REC member Lubabalo Keso were both killed ahead of the conference.

ANC KZN spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said they were hoping to see more people appear in court in connection with the political violence in the province.

“We are concerned by the pace of police investigations as it has not yielded positive results in most cases.”

Ntombela said there were no threats ahead of the provincial elective conference.

Violence monitor Mary de Haas said factional battles playing out within the ANC sometimes went beyond the balance of forces and turned violent.

“It stands to reason the same violent tactics will be used as weapons in factional struggles. As for police investigations the real problem is the existence of a ministerial task team. It claims success but we have yet to see a breakdown of how many of political murder cases are even in court let alone any convictions achieved,” De Haas said.

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